Opinion: YouTube Executive Christopher Cukor Called the Police on a Black Engineer #StandingWhileBlack

Wesley Michel, a Black software engineer, waited for a disabled friend outside of her apartment building in San Francisco on July 4. As he waited, a white man identified as YouTube executive, Christopher Cukor was caught on video accusing Wesley Michel of trespassing. The intrusive Cukor’s son was with him at the time of the incident. Inevitably, Cukor called the police even as his young son pleaded with him to leave.

Michel was waiting outside patiently when Cukor demanded that he disclose the name of the friend who lived in the building. When Wesley Michel refused, Cukor took out his cell phone and dialed 911. The YouTube exec went on to describe the “trespasser,” giving them Michel’s description as his distraught son pulled his sleeve begging Cukor to “let’s just go” and “I agree with him, Daddy,” in reference to Michel’s statement that his behavior would make him infamous.

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Christopher Cukor’s sense of entitlement to Wesley Michel’s personal business was infuriating to watch. Michel advised Cukor that he would become the next white man in a long list of white people who called the police on Black people for merely existing to become a viral news story.  “Don’t threaten me,” was Cukor’s response to the warning. Throughout the video, the boy continued to try to reason with his racist father, saying: “Daddy, let’s go. I don’t like this. Please. Daddy, let’s go.”

What’s even more disconcerting was Cukor’s self-righteousness. His son’s discernment that Michel was not a threat superseded Cukor’s common sense. He was not worried about his safety. He felt he had the right to force another grown man to answer to him based on his implicit bias of Black people. Cukor would not have asked a white man for that same information.

When Michel’s friend arrived, Cukor still questioned them, and even she asked him what was he doing. Cukor’s embarrassing behavior became apparent to him as Michel kept recording and he demanded that Michel remove the camera. It was at that moment, Cukor confirmed to police that Michel was not trespassing at the San Francisco apartment building. However, that had already been established.

He has now deactivated his social media, and YouTube has not issued a statement regarding his nefarious behavior.

YouTube’s executive leadership consists of five people with no people of color.

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19 Comments

  1. Amazing. A person takes advantage of someone’s exit from his own apartment building and bypasses the building’s security system, ignores a reasonable request to wait outside and use the callbox — you know, like a decent person would do — and he actually imagines he’s the victim.

    I have a better idea. Why doesn’t Wesly Michel wait outside the building, use the callbox and have a resident let him into the building like he’s supposed to?

    Chris Cukor did nothing wrong. Wesly Michel was entirely in the wrong here.

  2. Keka Araujo

    Cukor’s self-serving explanation. If he felt so threatened — including for his son — why did he stay there and continue the confrontation (as opposed to retreating and calling the police)?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/07/10/father-who-called-black-man-his-building-explains-his-actions-apologizes/?utm_term=.63ca79ea5d13

    • Marilyn Davis

      He didn;t feel threatened, he felt entitled and empowered by his skin color to demand someone bow down to him.

  3. Why hasn’t this story been on the national news? Is it because Cukor is a moneyed executive at YouTube? It seems that he would be more aware of current events and less likely than your every day racist to pull a stunt like this. Is this kind of racist behavior becoming so accepted or expected that it is no longer worthy of being reported even when the perpetrator is an executive with the major video sharing website run by Google? Does Cukor (I’m too angry to call him Mr.) understand YouTube’s mission statement: “We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community…”?

  4. grannybunny

    I don’t “do” YouTube, but wonder if this video has made it on there anywhere; does anyone know?

  5. Marcia Holmes

    Sensitivity training will not help one who exhibits no sense of human decency, right from wrong, or respect for others. Cukor’s parents should have taught him that, and to mind his own business, instead of hate/racism.

  6. Even the child knows and understands the Danger of calling the police on a Blackman and he knew it too .

    • grannybunny

      Danger from whom? I seriously hope that you’re not suggesting that Michel posed any danger to Cukor.

  7. Do you know any Gansters standing around in Pink Polo Shirts , White Tennis Shoes and a Yankee Cap , engaging in low tempered conversation ??? He knew that he was “ Picking “ . That’s why he Smiled and Smirked the entire time . He could have gotten this accomplished young gentleman waiting for a Disabled white female friend , to aid her . The community that serves The “ Disabled “ should Stand up for this young man who could have Lost his Life over a Laughing , Smirking Racist .

  8. Joe A Bradley

    He should have listened to his son. Kids have an uncanny ability to sense danger and he saw no threat whatsoever. Cukor could have engaged Michel in friendly conversation and probably would have gotten all the answers to his concerns. But he chose to treat Michel like a criminal and called to police without any provocation. I pray Youtube takes this seriously and does some sensitivity training with their executives and the rest of staff so this is not repeated. People tend to do as their superiors do.

  9. LaShanda Reed-Larry

    This is disturbing on so many levels. In this climate everyone goes straight to 10. Neither of them had regard for the pleading child who was clearly afraid.

    • Alicia Thornwell

      I do not fault the gentleman that was waiting for his friend. Christopher Cukor started this nonsense and is the one that should of had regard for his son.

    • Tara Phillips

      @Lashanda Reed-Larry, Neither of them had regard for the child? What was the responsibility of the person waiting with regard to the child? He was doing nothing but waiting while the father who is modeling behavior for his child, demonstrated entitlement and fear due to the color of a persons skin!! Everyone goes straight to 10? Clearly you’ve never been targeted because you are black! You would go straight to 10 after a lifetime of being discriminated against just because….!!!

  10. @LukeVisconti Don’t let him or Youtube off the hook . People may tire of seeing this story but , keep it out there everyday until cable news outlets and all of social media networks put it out there too .

  11. Linda Caldera

    What’s really sad about this story is the lesson that father is teaching his son. Fortunately, his son seems to have a good sense of right and wrong. Clearly he disagreed with his father’s behavior. Too bad the father doesn’t open his eyes and learn from the son.

  12. There goes my using YouTube!

  13. RACISM IN AMERICA!!! THESE KIND OF WHITE RACISTS ARE THE REASONS THAT RACIST WHITE MANIAC MURDERING COPS GET AWAY WITH MURDERING UNARMED BLACK AND BROWN AMERICANS!!!

    • So True . What’s EVRN Sadder is , whites believe they need Murderous Rouge Cops in order to feel safe . So they are Silent . This Racist could have gotten this accomplished young man who is there to help a Disabled White Person in the first place . Why aren’t they speaking out ? Why isn’t the Disabled community or the people who serve them speaking out !

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